Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. 67
    Part character study, part redemptive drama, and all cheesy heart, it's Boston-baked melodrama, a little too gooey at times, but still pretty delicious.
  2. 75
    Fairly bursts with the exuberance and youthful energy that must have attended its creation.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    First and foremost, Good Will Hunting is a film riding young, exuberant energies.
  4. This is good, solid work that never achieves either the art or poignance of Van Sant's earlier and more personal projects.
  5. 75
    It's the individual moments, not the payoff, that make it so effective.
  6. 75
    Presents a few too many hugs and arguments over what's best for Will. But ultimately, the movie, like its protagonist, boasts an integrity and intelligence that are tough not to admire. [25 December 1997, Tempo, p.1]
  7. Matt Damon and Robin Williams give touching performances, but Gus Van Sant's filmmaking is surprisingly ordinary.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Damon--as actor, not as co-screenwriter--is the best thing about Good Will Hunting.
  9. Stuffed--indeed, overstuffed--with heart, soul, audacity, and blarney. You may not believe a minute of it, but you don't necessarily want to stop watching.
  10. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    The script also happens to be quite literate and laceratingly funny, and Damon -- no big surprise here -- turns out to be the perfect actor to deliver Will's zingers.
  11. Reviewed by: Matthew Kohut
    Thanks to solid performances by Damon, Williams, and Driver, the story glides by on charm.
  12. While the charismatic performances of Damon and Affleck make Good Will Hunting a difficult entertainment to resist, doing just that is not as hard as the film would like to think.
  13. 90
    Intelligently written, sharply directed, and beautifully played.
  14. You'd never guess this just-off-center movie was directed by indie hero Gus Van Sant. Maybe, like Will, he's casual about his gifts and feels no need to trot them out.
  15. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Gus Van Sant, working from the tangy, well-written script, gets so much humor, grit and emotional truth out of this tale that the familiar formulas behind it simply fall away.
  16. 91
    With its sweet soul and sharp mind, it's one of the most heartening films of the year.
  17. 75
    An ordinary story told well. Taken as a whole, there's little that's special about this tale -- it follows a traditional narrative path, leaves the audience with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and never really challenges or surprises us.
  18. 70
    It isn't surprising that the film was originally based on actors' improvisations, since it creates a universe of tremendously enjoyable characters and allows them plenty of room to roam, but has only the most predictable notion of plot and nothing whatever to say beyond be-yourself pieties.
  19. Intimate, heartfelt and wickedly funny, it's a movie whose impact lingers.
  20. 40
    Van Sant's direction is surprisingly static and conventional, which doesn't help this earnest, underwhelming misfire.
  21. Both smart and shrewd -- it wraps that same comforting message in a thoroughly entertaining package.
  22. The script's bare bones are familiar, yet the film also has fine acting, steady momentum, a sharp eye and a very warm heart.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Hearts sinking, we are obliged to endure much pseudo-serious gabble as we head toward another painfully predictable triumph of the human spirit. There must be some better way of hunting our--and Oscar's--goodwill. [Dec. 1,1997]
  24. Reviewed by: Andy Jones
    Damon benefits greatly from a director like Gus Van Sant ("My Own Private Idaho") who understands quiet, funny moments, intricate relationships and beautiful young actors.
  25. 40
    The acting is top-notch and some scenes are authentically well-observed.
  26. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Damon convincingly matches Williams recrimination for recrimination in this portrayal of mutual tough love, even with the latter giving what may be the best performance of his career.
  27. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    This beautifully realized tale is always engaging and often quite touching.
  28. Director Van Sant, who made the lyrical "Mala Noche," "Drugstore Cowboy" and "My Own Private Idaho," returns to his favorite hunting ground -- the subworlds of grimy, poetic lost boys -- and pulls us right in
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 158 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 41
  2. Negative: 4 out of 41
  1. Mar 18, 2012
    Good Will Hunting is one of the greatest American Movies of all time. It is both Robin Williams and Matt Damon's best performances, and Robin Williams won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Good Will Hunting is both wise and deep. It really makes you stop and look at yourself and life. Full Review »
  2. Aug 22, 2010
    This is a great movie. I got out of it that it is a sham that without pushing that a life would be wasted and I can"t stand wasted lives. he wasn"t even on drugs. It also stresses the importance of getting your emotional stuff in order. Untill that was in order, he had no faith in himself. I guess your environment really really determines that. Great movie. you can learn so much from it. That is why I am not into action movies because I can"t learn much from them that I can"t use in life if you know what I mean. Full Review »
  3. Feb 19, 2011
    Brilliant script and great direction, Good Will Hunting is a must-see movie. Amazing performance by Matt Damon. The Greatest Math Janitor Film Of All Time Full Review »